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The easiest way for someone to trust what a writer puts out there (whether they write about beer or any other consumer product) is for the writer to be authentic; true to their readers, the businesses they cover, and themselves for crying out loud. While on the panel, I shared my wish that beer writers would tell the truth. I also said it would be great if those same folks would stop being so happy about getting free beer and being on the craft beer gravy train.

While I still purchase most of my beer, occasionally, a business will provide unsolicited samples. It’s the way it is and, so long as it doesn’t alter a writer’s view and incite them to paint a more favorable opinion of a beer or brewery than they otherwise would have, it’s no problem. But all too often, it does, especially with writers who have never operated within a traditional journalistic structure guided by long-standing ethical mandates. Because of the rise of online outlets and social media, the inability of major publications to employ reporters and pay writers the way they used to, free beer has become the primary, if not sole reason many people get into blogging and writing about beer. For many, it’s the only “compensation” of any sort that they receive. It’s all about the beer and the close-up brewery experiences for them, and that creates a dangerous situation for readers looking for the straight scoop.

And we haven’t even scraped the surface of writers who make money by selling advertising space on their website or blogs. Obviously, this compromises a journalist’s ability to say something negative about a business. Ditto those who sell consultant services…like the company the individual who asked me how I could attack babies blogs for. What a valiant stance to take on behalf of all the brewery owners in San Diego, confronting the villainous beer writer who would (gasp) do something so deplorable as putting the consumer first and (double gasp) sharing their authentic opinion. I don’t sell advertisements. I don’t have an app built around selling premium packages to brewery owners. I’m a writer paid directly by a publication that asks me, in return for the compensation they provide, to be diligent about reporting on the entire scene and be truthful.

And as I did at Beer-Con, I’d like to discuss how I develop the opinions that I share in print about local breweries. They are not fully my own. Like anyone, I am capable of forming my own opinions on anything and lead with them always, but when it comes to talking about the quality of a brewery, one man’s opinion, even if it comes from someone very knowledgeable on the subject, isn't always enough. When I visit breweries or taste their beers in a critic capacity, I most often do so with highly qualified individuals by my side—brewers, beer bar owners, brewing industry personnel, quality control professionals, certified beer judges, Cicerones (the certified beer industry equivalent of sommeliers), and the like. Even with something as subjective as beer, consensus is often reached and their expert input is invaluable.

So know this, reader. Even if it’s unpopular with others, you can trust what I report here and in the other publications that I provide craft beer content for. I see the truth as the most essential component of reporting on any subject and will afford it to you always. I am honored to have you in the audience and will never take your presence lightly.

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Comments

TheBeerman Aug. 12, 2013 @ 11:29 p.m.

"I don’t have an app built around selling premium packages to brewery owners."

But you do have your primary paycheck signed by the largest craft brewer in San Diego County. When's the last time you posted a negative review about their beer? Where's the post containing your opinion of the Coconut IPA? Or did you choose not to post anything 'negative' in your own best interests?

I smell just a bit of hypocrisy, Brandon.

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Brandon Hernández Aug. 13, 2013 @ 11:10 a.m.

As someone who does sales for an app that sells premium packages to brewery owners, I can see where you would take issue with a part of my article. To be clear, I’m not saying that completely compromises one’s ability to report truthfully on the quality of a brewing company’s beers. However, as proven by the majority of the prose composed by those types of businesses pertaining to brewing companies, it often does create a situation where the business does not find it in their best interests to be critical. It simply doesn’t fit the business model. If they are able to, and I’m sure there are such businesses, more power to them! As for your comment about my fully and often disclosed employment at Stone Brewing Co., that is independent of my writing career, yet it is something I disclose on this site, all of my social media sites and with great regularity in my articles. I mention I changed career paths to be a part of the craft beer industry in this very piece. Generally, I don’t write about Stone, since I can’t really be viewed as objective. I can tell you an event is going to happen at Stone or a beer is going to be released by the company because that’s purely informational. Even so, rather than report news on Stone developments, I let the rest of the writers out there handle it. It’s best that they do instead of me, and I realize that. I have been writing about craft beer for many years, never changing course along the way. I have a body of work that spans over 20 publications which is out there for the world to see which I can and do stand by.

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Benthere Aug. 15, 2013 @ 10:04 a.m.

"I’m a writer paid directly by a publication that asks me, in return for the compensation they provide, to be diligent about reporting on the entire scene and be truthful." True enough Brandon.... but you also write, sometimes sans by line for the Breweries that write you checks to say nice things about their beer.... the breweries that have been your bread and butter for years. You have been more than kind in reviews of, shall we say, mediocre beer for a paycheck... you are a good writer and happen to write about a subject I enjoy reading about...a Beer writer saint you are not.... you collect checks from more than just Stone and The Reader.... and you write what the check writer wants to hear. Maybe not such a good idea to throw stones...

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Brandon Hernández Aug. 15, 2013 @ 12:20 p.m.

I work at Stone Brewing Co. Aside from that, my freelancing for breweries consists solely of writing beer label text and web text for one brewing company. I've never written a single thing about a brewery because I was paid by one. Additionally, I've never written an article of any type for a brewery PERIOD. What you are suggesting is flat-out false.

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Garyjmag Aug. 13, 2013 @ 10:16 a.m.

I agree with The Beerman. You have a duty as a journalist to disclose your professional/financial affiliations to the readers of both the Reader and your blog. In my opinion it is a clear conflict of interest that unfortunately undermines your credibility. At the very least, increased transparency on your part will dictate your respect for your readers and the industry you cover.

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TheBigB Aug. 13, 2013 @ 11:59 a.m.

For the people clamoring for transparency, it pretty much is laid out in the Bio that is one click away from any of his articles:

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/staff/brandon-hernandez/

What would you suggest is better? A footnote on every article stating his full time job?

I don't think it makes much of a difference, anyway. Stone, Green Flash, Ballast Point - they have all gotten big enough that there is little Brandon could say either way that would make a difference. I don't think he's got a beef with any of the smaller places, so I generally take reports at face value.

I do think he's been a bit gun shy since Wet-n-Reckless Gate, though, because I've not seen a lot of "this beer wasn't good at all" reports. I think that is only part of the problem, though. In my opinion, it isn't that there is a lot of bad beer (drain pour stuff), but that there is a lot of mediocre beer.

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FromMyMellin Aug. 13, 2013 @ noon

"While on the panel, I shared my wish that beer writers would tell the truth. I also said it would be great if those same folks would stop being so happy about getting free beer and being on the craft beer gravy train."

Way to insult every beer blogger out there. If you ask me beer bloggers do a lot more for the industry then the paid journalist do. Yea, some of us get free beer but we aren't getting paid by a newspaper or online publication to write about beer, we do it out of love and if every so often a blogger gets a free beer from a brewery, an event ticket or even a comped beer at a bar they write about it so be it.

I know a lot of beer bloggers and many if not most are very objective and will write about bad too, I know I do. Heck, I wrote a post that was critical of the Brewers Association and The Savor festival as well as one attacking the Cicerone program. Some applauded me privately yet many attacked me publicly.

If anyone is riding the craft beer gravy train it is you being a writer about the industry while holding down a paid job with a brewery. If you want to be truly objective and you truly care to hell with disclosures which are hollow and empty, quit your job at Stone.

If you want to be critical of anyone in the beer scene about being on the gravy train attack those on Beer Advocate or Rate Beer that only care about super hoppy and rare/limited beers, those who hoard such beers for trading, sell beers on ebay or do other acts that are not in the true spirit of craft beer.

I'd link to my blog here but I don't think it would be appropriate, yet I think you need to do some soul searching and seek out the truth in yourself. Are you a beer writer or someone paid by a brewery that rights about other breweries both positively and negatively yet claims to be unbiased? You my friend are the one riding the gravy train and I'd be careful before it gets derailed and you find yourself on the unemployment train.

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instinctdecay Aug. 13, 2013 @ 11:46 p.m.

  1. Stop acting so personally attacked. It was a general statement about amateurish blogging, it's not necessarily news that their standards (of both beer and editing) are lowered.

  2. Brandon's writings span several high profile magazines and encompasses more than one industry. It is because of his style of writing and hard work that he is gainfully employed. A simple beer blogger's credentials/integrity pale in comparison. Don't think he'll have to worry about finding work, but thanks for caring.

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Brian Aug. 13, 2013 @ 12:24 p.m.

The beer blogging/journalism industry is the winner here. This discussion Brandon has jump started is important. I don't agree with all of his assertions but appreciate he is entitled to his opinion. I do find the questioning of his transparency a little off base, he mentions his employment often and his bio clearly states it as well. Personally, I invited him to be a judge of the Sore Eye Cup, he denied because Stone was nominated, showing his integrity. I understand this article stirs the pot but I also believe he did that intentionally. Thank you, Brandon, for pushing this issue to public forefront and evoking passionate responses. That's why we all write about craft beer, passion and enjoyment of great beer, right?

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Goats_udder Aug. 13, 2013 @ 3:29 p.m.

Good article, but a bit long winded for a blog post! Two things though: I think that people who are affiliated with a brewery don't have business writing reviews about another brewery's beer (good, bad, or indifferent) due to a conflict of interest or at least the appearance of one (even if you do disclose your affiliation.) If you do decide to write reviews you should be honest, however, I don't believe in reviewing beer, period. That's what RateBeer and BeerAd are for- cuz in the end dawg it's just, like, your opinion, man. And you know what they say about opinions... I think I may have reviewed 2-3 beers in my entire life--what's the point to it? There's so much more amazing things to write about in this industry--politics, news, drama.

Sugar coating my opinion is far from the way I care to hold a discourse so here's my equally appropriate, and mature response.

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FromMyMellin Aug. 13, 2013 @ 3:48 p.m.

Well said!!

I started out reviewing beers and then realized its pointless because I don't care what some random douche from the internet says about a beer. If I want to know about a beer I will ask my friends and the people I trust in person.

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Brandon Hernández Aug. 13, 2013 @ 4:32 p.m.

I agree about beer reviews, which is why I don't write them either. Recommend a beer, yes. Review, no. There are sites for those already.

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Goats_udder Aug. 13, 2013 @ 5:05 p.m.

So why the entourage of master cicerone's, brewery owners, and brewers?

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instinctdecay Aug. 13, 2013 @ 11:09 p.m.

It's for the establishment of a consensus, from a crowd of experts, as opposed to your average beer enthusiast who is just happy to be drinking locally. It adds more credence to the review, unlike an amateurish singular blog from a person that couldn't say anything bad about beer even if it was legitimately bad. If people claim the local beer scene is great and supportive, they should have no problem in addressing complaints about quality. Mr. Hernandez's piece really is needed in a time like this.

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Brandon Hernández Aug. 14, 2013 @ 12:03 p.m.

First, thank you for not rehashing the "how can you attack these peoples' babies" question you presented me with at Beer-Con. Second, I bring industry experts whose knowledge surpasses mine because it is invaluable whether I'm critiquing a business or merely writing about it. The opinions they provide enrich everything I write and provide perspectives that allow me to do more than rifle off my opinions ad nauseum. It's about going the extra mile to give readers something better and also affording the businesses I'm covering the respect they deserve. I don't take reporting on these businesses lightly and taking steps to ensure they are evaluated fairly by people qualified to do so is essential.

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MrAnon Aug. 13, 2013 @ 5:52 p.m.

From the bio: " communications specialist for Stone Brewing Co." So even working at a corporate office precludes one from having an opinion that many San Diego breweries produce a product that is lackluster at best (according to those above.) Stone is a major distributor of craft beer in SoCal. Brandon giving realistic reviews could hurt them more in distribution rights than boost their own sales, but since he doesn't even review Stone; oops! That impropriety just went out the window. Keep up the great work Brandon, we need the real scoop out here on the streets.

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CBT Aug. 13, 2013 @ 8:06 p.m.

I thank the audience member that asked the question that served as the inception of this discussion, as it were. Please take a moment to learn more about The Beer-Con panel that presented last Saturday, as well as an analysis of the above article. Cheers! http://www.craftbeertasters.com/082013/082013_post/08.13.2013_Beer_Con_2013_Writing_For_Craft_Beer_Panel.html

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MichaelRpdx Aug. 13, 2013 @ 9:24 p.m.

Those who write write nothing unless it can be positive do readers a huge disservice. They leave readers with no way to know why a particular brewery goes unmentioned. Does it have problems? Is it just off the writer's mental geography? Are the owners not as savvy about grabbing the writer's attention?

it should be clear to readers that an unmentioned place is only a place the writer has yet to visit.

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cfanning Aug. 13, 2013 @ 10:31 p.m.

Brandon, I agree with you in principle. Not all beer is mind-blowingly amazing, but I'd challenge you with an idea. The craft beer world thrives on its friendly, inclusive tradition rather than an elitist atmosphere where quaffers look to the experts first to see if they should like the beer first. I read a comment that drew me to the awful review of Wet 'N Reckless and I was stunned that someone in your position would take to the offensive in such a way.

In craft beer circles, you'll find people who like all flavor profiles (remember, even Brett is an off-flavor technically) and being demonstratively sour (ha!) on a brewery suggests a hierarchical view of craft beer. Look at all the wonderful breweries doing collabs with little guys, competitors, and homebrewers. They're not afraid to work together because craft beer is a very wide spectrum and that is exactly how the industry works. There are the big guys who have experience and consistency near to a macro and there are the young 'uns who are still cutting their teeth. We don't need "Top 10 Craft Breweries in San Diego" because that is counter to the congenial beer culture we have and it is phenomenal.

You know, when I hear brewers talk about their competitors, it's never "don't drink that trash" it's "yeah, their thing is more of an experimental approach." So should beer writing. Be descriptive man, not judgmental. Rather than good/bad, there is a whole range of descriptions one could use to describe the way a beer tastes.

It isn't that you have to "say something nice or nothing at all" it's that just slamming a poor outfit for being in your view bad doesn't help your reader. Of course you are the seasoned journalist and are entitled to your opinion but so are your readers.

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Brandon Hernández Aug. 13, 2013 @ 11:15 p.m.

I absolutely appreciate the sentiment of your comment and, frankly, love the spirit and tone in which it was written. The craft beer industry is mostly very positive. It's a huge part of what inspired me to become a part of it. But I will say that brewers are very concerned about the amount of bad beer out there. I need to also explain what I mean by bad beer. I'm not referring to stuff that doesn't fit my palate. I'm talking aboit infected, DMS ridden, low attenuated, flat, disgusting beer that's not fit for consumption. No consumer should not be made aware of beer like that. It would be wrong for me not to alert the public to beer of this low level of quality. I hope this further clarifies my stance. Cheers to you for the thoughtful feedback.

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instinctdecay Aug. 13, 2013 @ 11:33 p.m.

Great read, lengthy but necessary to point out certain observations of the seemingly saturated and partial SD craft beer scene.

There's literally nothing wrong with pointing out flaws in ANYTHING. To those up in arms over expressing negative opinions. You forget that Brandon is a journalist, and a critic, so his JOB is to analytically dissect the food/drink he consumes and point out their details. He's not saying to use terms like 'trash', 'swill', or 'piss', those are only used by the sheep-like elitists who are irrelevant to this debate. This is about the craft beer industry, which many say is a big friendly community.

Believe it or not, sometimes you need critical input from your family/customers to address certain issues. (like quality or consistency). It's not necessarily a bad thing. Whether or not they address them is another issue. (Which to that I have to say, the market will eat you alive) But at the end of the day it matters not. Those people who follow reviews will continue to rely on them, while others who prefer to try it themselves will go with their gut.

1

sfbeergeek Aug. 14, 2013 @ 9:37 a.m.

I think the comments in this article show what a lot of people I know in the beer industry think of Brandon Hernandez and I am glad this is becoming a public conversation. It is the good ole boys mentality of sticking with the guys that made you popular when there were only seven breweries and I get that from a personal perspective. However, it ruins your professional reputation when your friends from the big San Diego breweries can do nothing wrong and you continually rip the rest of the breweries.

I remember a review you did on a newer North Park brewery where you gave a beer a bad review but didn't even have the color or style correct in your review. It shows you went in with a perception of that brewery because they are not originally from the "industry" and never gave them a shot.

While you are the veteran of the group, that is not always a positive aspect. Veterans sometimes pick up habits and don't evolve with movement or change. You are a great writer but I would like to see you re-evaluate your place in this industry and understand where it is.

1

Brandon Hernández Aug. 14, 2013 @ 11:58 a.m.

I am glad it's become a public discussion too, and I think there's a lot to be taken from it. I appreciate your comment, but if you're familiar with my entire body of work, you'll see that, in addition to being the local writer making the most concerted effort to report on new breweries, giving them their shot straight out of the gate because I feel every business deserves the chance to get their name out there and do what they will with the attention an article about them garners, I also have said plenty of good things about plenty of new businesses. Societe, Rip Current, Latitude 33, Monkey Paw, Offbeat, Iron Fist, Benchmark, Amplified, Culture, Mother Earth and more. Rather than get into the details of that, I'll allow readers to look back on what I've written, but suffice it to say, you'd have a hard time getting breweries that have opened in the past several years or are planning to open at present to get on the Brandon Hernández has it out for new breweries wagon. Often, I'm the only voice talking about them at all, which is unfortunate.

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beersnobdougie Aug. 14, 2013 @ 1:20 p.m.

The Martin Luther of Beer Writing!

Negativity is shunned across the board. Never shy to opine on the lower end of the craft beer world I have always thought it polite to avoided cyber sharing of unfavorable opinions on beers or breweries. But you have hit the nail on the head. Reporting and reviewing should be all encompassing, the good and the bad, giving the active consumer a short cut to greatness and avoiding the awful. We owe this to our fellow craft beer drinkers.

The lubricating of opinions is effective and produces positive results. As the community is so small writers and bloggers don’t want to hurt the feeling of people they look at as friends. A (honest) negative review of a beer or entire operation could hurt the access of the credentialed and non-credentialed alike. With many brewers, breweries and brew/gastropubs being friendly they could easily box out a single person or webteam. Without the power of substantial and measurable readership web based writers can’t afford to burn precious bridges. Where traditional journalists gain notoriety and readers with a controversial hit piece or slamming their subject, that route would fail in this tight knit swelling scene.

Of course mean or nasty is different than honest, but will an up and coming operation see it that way before crying unfair and seeking revenge?

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DannyFullpint Aug. 14, 2013 @ 7:24 p.m.

Brandon,

I appreciate this is how you feel and that you have a platform to speak your mind, I think most of what you are say rubs me the wrong was as it does other people covering this subsection of the adult beverage industry. As a disclaimer, I am the editor and Co-Founder of TheFullPint.com, one of the top 3 independent online beer publications in the US.

"During a question-and-answer session I was asked why it is that I would report the negative aspects of local brewing operations. Why I would “attack owners’ babies.” My reply to that was that they’re not their babies, they’re their businesses."

Well sometimes when you "attack owners babies" even in a over the top, entertaining way, the brewery might spend a week working on a "diss track" to put your small independent site in a negative light.

"While others on the panel stated that, if they came across something negative at a brewery or found its beers to be substandard, they simply wouldn’t write about them, or worse yet, would do their best to find one good beer in their stable to highlight while leaving out information about all the bad beer, I just can’t go that route."

Might you have examples of yourself talking about a bad beer that was sent to you? Trying to pass a bad beer sample as a good one is what beginner bloggers do sometimes, being tactful about a beer you don't care fore gives the beer writer legitimacy while protecting the "baby." I've received media samples of beer that was rank or infected, and I contacted the brewery who sent it to me with my feedback. More than half the time, they reply back saying that I must have gotten a bad bottle and respect that I don't want to post my notes on it, or send me a new bottle insisting I will have a different experience with the next bottle.

At our publication, it's pretty clear what part of it is opinion and what part is passed off as straight news.

"If writers don’t disclose the bad with the good, there is no way for a reader to be able to discern anything from the prose they put out in their blog or publication."

People seeking and returning to an online beer publication will only be uneducated for so long. If a visitor comes to a beer blog or publication and reads an article how Iron Fist Brewing is craft beer's gift to San Diego, it will only take a few minutes of browsing Iron Fist's beer ratings elsewhere up against ratings of Alpine or AleSmith Brewing. So whether a beer writer shills something not good or opts out of covering something not good, the readers will be hip to it sooner than later.

1

DannyFullpint Aug. 14, 2013 @ 7:25 p.m.

"Some writers (many, in fact) make the argument that them not writing about a business is the same as passing negative judgment about that business. If they won’t cover a brewery, it's a clear way of communicating to readers that the operation is lousy. But that thinking is severely flawed. As stated before, there are more than 70 brewhouses in San Diego County. I’d argue that no single beer writer has been to all of them (they might tell you they have, but trust me, they haven’t...even I have one left on my list that I haven’t made it to yet), so if they haven’t been there, they can’t write about them. But if you go by their defensive stance that not writing about a business means said business sucks, that leaves the reader mistakenly thinking a brewery is subpar simply because the writer hasn’t been there yet."

We've learned in our 6 years of being in business that it's not fair to the brewer to cover them in their infancy. Going back to Iron Fist, and many of the brewers popping up in the Los Angeles territory, they are getting their feet wet, dialing in their recipes, and all while trying to scale up to meet local demand. Often times these new breweries won't hit the same mark twice for a good year or more.

The way we pick new breweries to cover is when there is tremendously positive word of mouth. The best example I can come up with is Societe in San Diego. They were just another new SD brewery to me, until all of my friends, who I trust were gushing about their beer. I fast tracked my own coverage rule because after giving these rookies a try, I found they were making stunning beer worth talking about to our readers.

"The easiest way for someone to trust what a writer puts out there (whether they write about beer or any other consumer product) is for the writer to be authentic; true to their readers, the businesses they cover, and themselves for crying out loud."

It's my opinion that you mention you are an employee of Stone Brewing Co. near the dateline of all your beer articles. Just sayin.....

1

DannyFullpint Aug. 14, 2013 @ 7:26 p.m.

"While on the panel, I shared my wish that beer writers would tell the truth. I also said it would be great if those same folks would stop being so happy about getting free beer and being on the craft beer gravy train."

Anyone who is serious about really writing about beer will get the stars out of their eyes eventually. Not sure if you can relate, but I remember when the "beer truck" would start coming a few times a week. Back to the "babies" analogy, early in our publication, the brewers who sent me beer's feelings were under consideration. As time went by,my waist got bigger and my tongue got more fatigued, I found clever ways to tell the truth without kicking a brewer in the balls.

"..free beer has become the primary, if not sole reason many people get into blogging and writing about beer. For many, it’s the only “compensation” of any sort that they receive. It’s all about the beer and the close-up brewery experiences for them, and that creates a dangerous situation for readers looking for the straight scoop."

You are over estimating the scene greatly. There is a beer blog that starts up every day, there's a beer blog that hits up Deschutes or Stone for samples every day, and after about two months, they fade away into nothing. By the time a beer blog or beer publication gains traction, the luster of "free beer" has worn off. I guess my question is "Who's using these Johnny Come Lately Bloggers as a source of valuable information?"

"And we haven’t even scraped the surface of writers who make money by selling advertising space on their website or blogs. Obviously, this compromises a journalist’s ability to say something negative about a business. "

So if I'm reading this correctly, you don't want anyone writing about beer to earn any type of compensation? I hope you're boss is reading this ;) Seriously, you are pooing on those who are doing it for the beer and those who are trying to you know, make a living off it by selling advertisements.

With our publication, if we run an advertisement campaign on a brewery for X amount of months, we will hold off printing our tasting notes for any of their products. Not only does this prevent us from looking like shills, and protects the breweries from looking like they are straight up trying to buy bloggers.

"So know this, reader. Even if it’s unpopular with others, you can trust what I report here and in the other publications that I provide craft beer content for. I see the truth as the most essential component of reporting on any subject and will afford it to you always. I am honored to have you in the audience and will never take your presence lightly."

That's commendable, I hope you consider disclaiming you work in Stone Brewing Co.'s communications department, especially when mentioning them in an article.

You do have my curiosity on Beer-Con, more specifically who was there that you may have been talking down to. Hopefully they chime in on this.

1

Goats_udder Aug. 15, 2013 @ 10:18 a.m.

That would be myself, Dr.Q from Craft Beer Tasters, and Cody from ThreeBzine... This was my response: http://www.fugglybrew.com/2013/08/5-types-of-craft-beer-hipster-douchebag.html#.Ugz_opLVDB0

The Craft Beer Tasters Response (a mature and well thought out post <3) http://www.craftbeertasters.com/082013/082013_post/08.13.2013_Beer_Con_2013_Writing_For_Craft_Beer_Panel.html

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heelincalifornia Aug. 15, 2013 @ 10:27 a.m.

There seems to be a lot of unnecessary and undeserved hate here. Reading this article as an outsider, someone who's a mere consumer of craft beer and not a blogger, reviewer, or even a communications specialist for Stone, I see nothing but wisdom. Brandon seems to be encouraging people to be honest in their reporting, rather than supporting a "hey, it's better than Budweiser!" ethos.

Having read Brandon's blogs for the past year, I rarely see him negatively review any brewery or beer. He seems to adhere to the exact suggestion in one of the comments above to discuss the good experiences he has at particular breweries, rather than accentuating any subpar tastes. If anything, I'd chide him about not being honest enough himself! I've noted that even after panning a brewery, he is willing to return and give them another chance. I can think of one fledgling brewery at which his experiences matched my own, with the first taster flight being so unimpressive that it took about a year for me to have any desire to return. And that brewery had improved markedly, just as Brandon suggested in a follow-up of his own. When he reviews individual beers, those reviews seem to highlight his personal favorites rather than new or otherwise unfamiliar ones.

I also do not see any problem with his employment at Stone. That is common knowledge for anybody who follows him, and he does steer away from reviewing their products outside of Stone Brewing fora. So what is the problem? Stone has a reputation for being supportive of the local microbrewing industry, a reputation that seems to be important to the company.

How about we lay off the guy here and get into the nitty-gritty of the conversation he is clearly trying to elicit? After all, if you think a bad review of a beer or brewery by Brandon or any blogger, reviewer, or communications specialist for Stone is going to prevent a taste or visit by this craft beer consumer, well, then you think you're entirely more important than you actually are.

1

Brandon Hernández Aug. 15, 2013 @ 11:24 a.m.

Thank you for taking the time to share your comments. You are exactly right. I'm simply trying to encourage people to be honest in reporting. Nothing more, nothing less. No finger pointing at individuals, just a hope that writers put out reliable information that consumers can count on, good or bad. Cheers.

1

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